Violent extremism has become one of the major challenges to stability in fragile states, characterized by weak, non-inclusive institutions, and lack of economic opportunity. Youth are often perceived as particularly vulnerable to recruitment into extremist groups. The U.S. Institute of Peace has funded several impact evaluations of peacebuilding interventions over the last few years, including two rigorous evaluations of Mercy Corps’ youth programming in Afghanistan and Somalia aimed at reducing support for armed opposition groups.
The psychosocial impact of the Syrian conflict is less often acknowledged, but could have a lasting impact on the ability of Syrian civilians to recover and build a more peaceful future and possibly lead to a lost generation of Syrian children. Please join USIP and specialists from the Syrian American Medical Society, the U.S State Department and Save the Children for a panel discussion, addressing an aspect of the Syrian conflict that often receives less attention than it deserves.
On November 17, USIP held Facebook Live forum with youth leaders who build peace, some despite personal traumas, in homelands facing violent conflicts. This forum originated from Dharamsala, India, where these 25 youth leaders shared their experiences with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
On November 16, the U.S. Institute of Peace and NAFSA: Association of International Educators held a discussion of how international education can strengthen diplomacy and contribute to peacebuilding.
On August 8, USIP held a discussion of new ideas and resources for strengthening the role of youth who are reducing violence, improving security, and opposing violent extremism in their countries. This forum was co-sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the international peacebuilding organization Search for Common Ground, and YouthPower, which promotes positive youth development globally.
Most of the world’s most violent conflicts occur in countries with burgeoning populations of young people. Often these youth are the most vulnerable to the ravages of war. At the same time, more than 80 percent of people globally identify as religious, and their leaders and representatives often work on the front lines to prevent and reduce violent conflict. Yet both groups too often are excluded from formal peace efforts. On August 1, authors of a new U.S. Institute of Peace Special Report held a webcast conversation on how these two groups are working together and ways they can contribute even more to the cause of peace.
On May 1, former Pakistani Finance Minister Shahid Javed Burki and other experts discussed economic, demographic, climate and security challenges in Pakistan and their implications for U.S. policy.
USIP and Colombia’s University of Cartagena webcast a live forum March 24 with Colombian youth leaders and students working toward post-war reconciliation. A panel of peacebuilders discussed with them the growing roles for youth leaders in healing violent conflicts in Colombia and globally.
As extremist groups around the world manipulate local grievances to recruit members and destabilize entire countries and regions, the response by governments and communities on the frontlines is more important than ever. Based on new research conducted in Kenya, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a Twitter roundtable (#CVEExchange) to explore how and why certain communities in Kenya were able to resist the pull of violent extremism.
In Sri Lanka, Buddhist ideological extremism fuels negative attitudes about minority ethnic and religious groups. On November 28, U.S. Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph Fellow Rabia Chaudry and other experts discussed the findings of her research on these trends.